Veterinarian’s Corner: Maternity Care Matters to Cow and Calf – Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus

Posted on October 25, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus dairy specialist
The maternity phase is critical for both the cow and calf, and a high-stress period for the cow.  We can help her be more productive by ensuring her transition into lactation is smooth.

Regional Report: Minnesota – Greg Wiener, Vita Plus

Posted on October 25, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Greg Wiener, Vita Plus dairy specialist
This fall's terrible swings in weather have led to many challenges in calves less than two weeks old, and most of those challenges revolve around cleanliness.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Newborn Care with Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this segment of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy, explains the protocols he and his team follow to care for newborn calves and fresh cows.  With many team members responsible for maternity care, they use several communication tools to keep everyone up to speed.

Think Feet at the Feedbunk – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
So we fire up the tractor, load the TMR mixer, turn into the central feed alley of the heifer freestall barn, and start discharging feed. Typically, the last thing we want is the heifers to run out of feed, so we make sure they have plenty. 

Oops. We forgot to add a couple of details to the story. 

Regional Calf Report: Eastern Iowa – Stacy Zitelman, Vita Plus

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Stacy Zitelman, Vita Plus dairy specialist
July brought many storms with damaging winds and heavy rainfall, followed by a few weeks of high humidity. Keeping calves dry, hydrated and stress-free has been a challenge for producers this summer.

VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser – Dealing with Heat Stress with Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy

Posted on June 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

In this segment of A Day in the Life of a Calf Raiser, Jonathon Hallock, MarBec Dairy, highlights the numerous things his team does to keep calves healthy and strong through periods of hot weather and heat stress.

NEW! Veterinarian’s Corner: When to Do a Necropsy – Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Military Ridge Veterinary Service

Posted on June 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Military Ridge Veterinary Service
Calf rearing is one of the most time-consuming and important tasks on a dairy farm.  The performance of any pre-weaned calf program has a direct impact on a herd’s future and milk production.  Whether it's a 50-cow dairy or a 5,000-cow dairy, it is easy for attentive calf caretakers to become frustrated when calves get sick or die.  Working closely with your herd veterinarian is crucial when it comes to investigating causes of calf illness, whether it's due to scours, pneumonia or other diseases.

NEW! Veterinarian’s Corner: Guidelines for Proper Vaccine Handling – Dr. Kevin Ratka, Vita Plus

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Kevin Ratka, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Vaccination protocols are very important to maintain the health and productivity of each herd.  A considerable amount of time is spent discussing and analyzing which vaccines should be used and when is the optimal time to use each vaccine to achieve maximal immunity.  However, sometimes the basics of vaccine handling and storage get overlooked, leading to poor response to the vaccine and putting herds at risk for disease.  Here are some of the basic guidelines to ensure optimal results.

NEW! Calf Program Checklist: Measuring Serum Total Protein – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Serum total protein analysis is a simple and repeatable way to evaluate passive transfer of immunoglobulins in dairy calves up to five days of age.  When colostrum is fed, the immunoglobulins are absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, where they interact with tissues in the body to provide passive transfer of immunity from the dam to the calf. 

Regional Calf Report: Southern Wisconsin – Frankie Rathbun, Vita Plus Columbus

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Frankie Rathbun, Vita Plus Columbus dairy specialist
Spring has arrived here in southern Wisconsin and we have been experiencing the wet conditions that come along with it. Based on the on-farm observations our team has made and discussions with veterinarians, I believe that respiratory disease has been the number one challenge as we enter spring. Along with that, an increase in Salmonella-related challenges have not only resulted in scours, but also have developed into respiratory issues in some herds. Salmonella can be transferred through saliva, milk, fecal-oral vectors, nasal contact and colostrum. Key factors that impact the spread of Salmonella are cleanliness and ventilation.

NEW! Veterinarian’s Corner: MLV and Killed Vaccines – Dr. Chris Chase, South Dakota State University

Posted on February 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Chris Chase, South Dakota State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
The times they are a changin’ with MLV and killed vaccines.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

In the last 40 years, we have seen several waves in which type of vaccine - modified live vaccines (MLV) or inactivated (killed) - is the most efficacious and safe.

Intestinal Bacteria Communication: Can You Hear Me Now? – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on February 23, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Historically, we believed bacteria functioned as individual cells.  The discovery of intercellular communication among bacteria led to the realization that bacterial communities are capable of coordinated activity.  The “language” used for this intercellular communication is based on self-generated signal molecules called autoinducers.  When sufficient bacteria are present, autoinducer signals allow bacteria to sense a critical mass or quorum.  Communication allows bacterial populations to synchronize group behavior and coordinate multicellular functionality.

Digital Dermatitis in Replacement Heifers: A “Life Sentence?” – Floyd Sutton, Zinpro

Posted on December 21, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Floyd Sutton, Zinpro Corporation account manager
One of the biggest challenges in heifers is controlling digital dermatitis (DD).  This infectious skin disease is often seen in heifers starting around puberty.  Heifers that develop DD in the growing period are often given a “life sentence” because of the nature of the disease and the difficulty to treat chronic lesions once they establish in the animal. 

Causes of calf diarrhea – Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
When a young calf breaks with scours, 80 percent of the time the cause is from one of three sources.

At the Vita Plus Calf Summit, Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota, explained how to protect calves from falling victim to one – or all three – of these scour culprits.

Drug residues and regulations – Dr. Dave Rhoda, University of Wisconsin-Madison, retired

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

By Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen
Ensuring food safety by preventing drug residues is what matters, but how can dairy producers make this a part of their everyday protocols?

According to Dr. David Rhoda with the Wisconsin Veterinary Medicinal Association (WVMA), the Food Armor® program provides the answer.

Farm School presenters share their key take-home points

Posted on June 29, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care

To kick-off Vita Plus Calf Summit 2016, about 120 attendees participated in the preconference Farm School on June 21 at Ostrowski Farms, Inc. in Eland, Wisconsin.  While on farm, participants rotated through several stations to learn the best management practices in a wide variety of calf and heifer care areas.  Each speaker shared their key points for attendees to take back to their home farms.